Callum Hudson-Odoi has signed his new deal. After a long summer of false alarms, there he is standing with Marina, a shirt and a grin.
It’s seemed certain for a while now, but it’s easy to forget how unlikely this situation seemed just a few months ago. Not long ago we had turned down a transfer request, and the winger was glowering on the bench as Maurizio Sarri reduced his game time. A new deal seemed a long way off then, and the hopes of changing his mind faint.
He's staying (c)home.
— Chelsea FC USA (@ChelseaFCinUSA) September 19, 2019
A lot has changed since then, and there’s no denying that his awful injury, as heartbreaking as it was, swung things in Chelsea’s favour. The appointment of Frank Lampard was another significant factor. If Callum has had any doubts about committing to his boyhood club, they surely will have been rapidly eroded by seeing his direct peers starting and succeeding week in, week out; just as he was before his injury.
‘It’s an amazing feeling,’ Hudson-Odoi said after signing his contract. ‘It’s been a long wait but it’s done now and I’m really happy about that.
Callum was waiting just like us! But it’s done so 🙌🏼
— CarefreeYouth (@CarefreeYouth) September 19, 2019
It’s a significant move for the club too. Losing one of Europe’s brightest young talents on a free transfer would have been a total disaster, and a massive black mark against the work of the academy. Securing him hopefully means a genuine world class talent at the start of their career on the wing. With so many brilliant youngsters in the team now, attention can be turned to really focusing on the weak spots and making this squad.
Feels good to be back with on the pitch!! Also good to get 60 minutes, to get an assist and a win✅🔥⚽️ pic.twitter.com/9aKW6RwxWc
— Callum Hudson-Odoi (@Calteck10) September 13, 2019
The next step is getting him back on the field and playing at a high level again as soon as possible. For all the talent this team has, a fresh injection of life on the wings is desperately needed, just as it was last season when he made his breakthrough. It wouldn’t take much to get a first team spot ahead of the patchy Willian, Pedro and Christian Pulisic. He just has to prove his fitness.
Callum Hudson-Odoi | All 9 Goals & Assists 2018/19 🔵 #CFC
— CFC-Blues (@CFCBlues_com) September 19, 2019
His impact last season was instant, and undeniable. He got goals and assists every time he was given a chance, and even the tactically stubborn Sarri was forced to bend to the will of the fans to get him in the side. Frank Lampard will need no such persuading. Callum can expect all the time and minutes he needs to get up to speed again.
Chelsea academy products who have new contracts this season:
— Nizaar Kinsella (@NizaarKinsella) September 19, 2019
For a club that’s banned from making transfers, we certainly know how to make major additions to our squad. Between the returning loanees, the loans made permanent and the contracts signed, we’ve refreshed our squad significantly, and can now hopefully make decisive moves next summer to turn us back into proper Champions League contenders again.